IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Do Some Business Models Perform Better than Others?


  • Malone, Thomas
  • Weill, Peter
  • Lai, Richard
  • D'Urso, Victoria
  • Herman, George
  • Apel, Thomas
  • Woerner, Stephanie


This paper defines four basic business models based on what asset rights are sold (Creators, Distributors, Landlords and Brokers) and four variations of each based on what type of assets are involved (Financial, Physical, Intangible, and Human). Using this framework, we classified the business models of all 10,970 publicly traded firms in the US economy from 1998 through 2002. Some of these classifications were done manually, based on the firms' descriptions of sources of revenue in their financial reports; the rest were done automatically by a rule-based system using the same data. Based on this analysis, we first document important stylized facts about the distribution of business models in the U.S. economy. Then we analyze the firms' financial performance in three categories: market value, profitability, and operating efficiency. We find that no model outperforms others on all dimensions. Surprisingly, however, we find that some models do, indeed, have better financial performance than others. For instance, Physical Creators (which we call Manufacturers) and Physical Landlords have greater cash flow on assets, and Intellectual Landlords have poorer q's, than Physical Distributors (Wholesaler/Retailers). These findings are robust to a large number of robustness checks and alternative interpretations. We conclude with some hypotheses to explain our findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Malone, Thomas & Weill, Peter & Lai, Richard & D'Urso, Victoria & Herman, George & Apel, Thomas & Woerner, Stephanie, 2006. "Do Some Business Models Perform Better than Others?," MPRA Paper 4752, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:4752

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Emiliano Carlo & Fabio Fortuna & Silvia Testarmata, 2016. "Boundaries of the business model within business groups," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 20(2), pages 321-362, June.
    2. Ales Novak, 2014. "Business Model Literature Overview," FINANCIAL REPORTING, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2014(1), pages 79-130.
    3. Hess, Thomas (Ed.), 2012. "Geschäftsmodelle als Thema der Wirtschaftsinformatik," Working Papers 1/2012, University of Munich, Munich School of Management, Institute for Information Systems and New Media.
    4. Marzanna Katarzyna Witek-Hajduk & Piotr Zaborek, 2016. "Does Business Model Affect CSR Involvement? A Survey of Polish Manufacturing and Service Companies," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(2), pages 1-20, February.
    5. Pascal Barneto & Stéphane Ouvrard, 2013. "Existe-T-Il Une Relation Entre L'Information Sectorielle Et Le Tableau Des Flux De Tresorerie ?," Post-Print hal-00991963, HAL.
    6. Michael Page, 2014. "Business models as a basis for regulation of financial reporting," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 18(3), pages 683-695, August.
    7. Barneto, Pascal & Ouvrard, Stéphane, 2015. "Is the firm's business model related to segment reporting?," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 122-137.
    8. Daniel Zähringer & Jochen Niederberger & Knut Blind & Alexander Schletz, 2010. "Revenue creation: business models for product-related services in international markets -- the case of Zwick GmbH & Co. KG," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(4), pages 629-641, March.
    9. Nathalie Gonthier-Besacier & Charlotte Disle & Philippe Protin, 2015. "L'Utilite Perçue Du Concept De Business Model Par Les Analystes Financiers," Post-Print hal-01188580, HAL.

    More about this item


    business models; performance;

    JEL classification:

    • G0 - Financial Economics - - General
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • L6 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:4752. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.